Santé Montréal


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National Drowning Prevention Week: 21 to 27 July 2019

Semaine nationale de la prévention de la noyade

Safe behaviours to adopt around water

Summer’s in full swing. It’s beautiful and hot outside, and you want to cool off. Whether you're in a pool or a natural body of water, adopting safe behaviours will make your aquatic experiences more fun.

A few numbers on drowning

In Canada, Québec has the highest rate of children drowned in residential pools. Drowning is the second leading cause of death due to unintentional injury among Québec children aged 1 to 4 years. About 60 children drown each year, a number equivalent to more than two full classrooms. Each year in Canada, 140 children are hospitalized because of near-drowning incidents that can cause long-term damage. 

A young child can drown in a few seconds in as little as 2 centimetres (1 inch) of water. Therefore, it is very important to exercise caution to avoid the worst, and to apply certain precautions to have a healthy and safe summer.  

Ensure safety

Limit and control access to your pool. It’s important to install a barrier or fence around the pool to prevent children from accessing it. Ideally, have a fence with a self-closing gate to control access to the pool at all times.

Supervision and “designated lifeguards”

In pools, drownings and near-drownings happen most often outside regular swimming times or after accidental falls into the water. This type of incident occurs often because a child living in the household or neighbourhood had access to the pool when no adult was present. The Lifesaving Society proposes designating lifeguards during gatherings of friends and family to ensure someone is responsible for supervising the pool at all times.

Another good approach is to teach children to never go near water without a parent and to explain to them why they should not do so.

  • Over the past 10 years, 42% of children who drowned had no adult supervision.

Adopt safe behaviours

  • Remove all floating objects from the pool once swim time is over.  This can prevent a child from falling into the water if he or she tries to reach those objects.
  • Never dive into shallow water.
  • Young children and poor swimmers should wear lifejackets when going in, on or near water.
  • Enroll your child in swimming lessons.
  • Teach your children water safety rules and teach them about currents.

The Lifesaving Society invites you to become an ambassador

July 21 to 27, 2019 has been designated as National Drowning Prevention Weeks. This year’s theme is “Drowning is preventable”. Lifeguards, parents, friends and swimmers can all become ambassadors and help raise awareness by adopting safe behaviours. 

The Lifesaving Society’s mission is to encourage safe practices around water to prevent drownings and injuries. It also offers “Swim to Survive”, a prevention program designed for elementary school students in grades 3 to 6 or for any other children’s organization. The program aims to teach basic skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water, because many young people think they can swim but this isn’t always the case: there’s a difference between knowing how to swim and being able to swim.

Also available on the organization’s Website:  A toolbox for parents whose children are in the program. 

Splashy Mission

Water can be fun, but it can also be dangerous. Are your children familiar with basic water safety rules? Discover fun videos that will help you with prevention. 

Splashy Mission is a new platform designed to prevent drowning in children aged 6 to 10 years. Kids learn basic swimming skills and water safety rules. In 41 seconds, children learn the best behaviours to adopt when engaging in aquatic activities. Educational games and videos are available on the Québec Lifesaving Society Website. This initiative is a collaboration between Société de Radio-Canada’s Zone Jeunesse and the Lifesaving Society’sSwim to Survive” program, whose honorary sponsor is ex-Olympic diver Sylvie Bernier.

Comité régional de traumatologie de Montréal (CRTM)

Montréal’s regional trauma committee is acting as ambassador to National Drowning Prevention Week, from 21 to 27 July, 2019. 

The CRTM’s efforts are focused on improving trauma services. It enables stakeholders to exchange, communicate and make recommendations about services for the public by uniformly supporting prevention programs for the population.


See also

Public, Children's Health, Summer, Prevention, News, Mesures d’urgence

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Last Update : 09 April 2020